Saturday, 30 June 2007

The Bridesmaids

Why doesn’t Jon have someone like that, I thought looking across the dining table at the two young women sat opposite. Carla with her enormous brown eyes and Spanish looks, and Louise fair haired and petite. Both girls are roughly the same height, small, slim and pretty. But, in spite of being very girly girls, it was their kindness and intelligence that impressed me most. Over a veggie curry that Dan had cooked we discussed everything from wedding makeup to false nails, from Tony Blair’s resignation to Gordon’s Brown’s takeover, from Iraq to the conquest of South America, from Jon’s release and homecoming to his rehabilitation process. They have both travelled the world and now have exciting jobs in London, Carla in PR and Louise in an investment bank.

They had looked on in awe that morning as Kathryn tried on her wedding dress, giving enthusiastic exclamations. She’d bought the underwear in London, and it fit exactly under the dress. The vintage crystal necklace that her Nan had given her before she died, matched the dress perfectly, much to her relief, so she chose a veil edged in tiny crystal teardrops. I shed a few teardrops myself. She looked stunning. The shoes she chose, peep toes, will have to be ordered from a catalogue.

Women love weddings. It’s a fact. Everyone in the hairdressers that morning wanted to know the details: when it was, where it was, what I was wearing, what hymns we were having. We caused quite a stir. Carla was all over the salon taking photographs of us at different stages of coiffeur, for the build up to the wedding album. My hair was cut and blow dried in a style that should, on the day, flick out elegantly below my big hat. Carla had a smooth look, parted in the middle and tied in a tight bun at the nape of her neck. Very dramatic, emphasising her eyes. Louise went for curls, half up and half tumbling down her back. To achieve this look she had to be rollered and cooked under a hair dryer until she cried out to be freed. Carla said she might have a different style, as the thickness of her hair caused the bun to collapse later that night. But I think she may have been a little bit envious of Louise’s very feminine look.

Kathryn’s curly hair had to be straightened before it was swept up into sleek curls on the top of her head, very Audrey Hepburn. The hairdresser, Myra, made several attempts before she achieved the necessary height on which to rest the crystal tiara. It looked amazing.

As Myra was adding the finishing touches to my hair we talked about the wedding hymns and she told me that she sings in church. “You’re not the Myra that the organist, Marie Redfern has booked as our soloist for the wedding are you?” I asked.
“I could be,” she replied. "I'll check my diary."
“Kathryn,” I shouted, “Myra is probably our soloist.”
“Oh wow!” Kathryn said. “That means you’ll be doing our hair in the morning and then singing at the lunch time wedding.”
"That's cool," Carla said.
"You can practise the scales to warm up while you're doing our hair," Lousie said.
“I’ve heard of the Singing Detective.” I said, “But we’ve got the singing hairdresser!”

We sorted the flowers, at last, continuing the red rose theme, with a newly opened florist, not far from the Hungry Buddha, where we’d enjoyed a veggie brunch.

And the finally, in the late afternoon, I picked up Lizzy who was going to do the alterations to the bridesmaids’ dresses. Kathryn had brought the dresses, which she’d bought in London, up with her on the train. The girls looked fantastic. A deep claret red, the strapless gowns had simple classic lines, the bodices clinging to their slim figures and the skirts gently flaring at the bottom. Louise’s dress fit her perfectly in the body but needed to be shortened. Carla’s dress needed shortening and taking in across the bust. More excitement and photos for the album as Lizzy measured and pinned. After tea and cake, I drove Lizzy home. “What lovely girls,” she said. “I’ll have these altered this week.”
"There's no rush," I said feeling satisfied.

“I can’t believe how much we’ve got done today.” Kathryn said, reclining on the sofa, thumping through a magazine. “I’m wrecked.” The bridesmaids agreed. But they managed to muster enough energy to crawl to the nearest pub for a nightcap while Dan and I cleared away the curry dishes.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Attwood

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